Action Needed: Comment on Southgate Annexation

Tomorrow night the City Council will be considering the land use and zoning of the Spokane Housing Ventures annexation that includes the former South Regal Lumber site. If you’ll recall from last month, at issue with whether the former lumber site will be given a General Commercial land use designation with Community Business zoning that is the request of the developer or will the City Council decide to make its land use and zoning Center and Corridor as is more in line with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan.

I encourage all of you to please send an email to our City Council members encouraging them to follow the Comprehensive and neighborhood plans and supports the Center and Corridor zoning. Here are the Council members email addresses:

Ben Stuckart: bstuckart@spokanecity.org

Lori Kinnear: lkinnear@spokanecity.org

Breean Beggs: bbeggs@spokanecity.org

Amber Waldref: awaldref@spokanecity.org

Candace Mumm: cmumm@spokanecity.org

Karen Stratton: kstratton@spokanecity.org

Mike Fagan: mfagan@spokanecity.org

Here are some points to consider again while shaping your comments:

  1. Voting for Center and Corridor land use and zoning will result in zoning that better supports the vision of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and the Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan for vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.
  2. The current zoning in the County is “Mixed-Use” which is the County’s most pedestrian-oriented zoning. In fact, the County Comprehensive Plan explicitly states that it is designed to, “discourage auto-dependent uses and encourage pedestrian orientation with an emphasis on aesthetics and design.”
  3. The most pedestrian-oriented zoning in the City is “Center and Corridor” which focuses on creating commercial zones that have a mix of uses and encourages pedestrian-oriented, auto-accommodating designs to provide options for residents of the surrounding neighborhood.
  4. Comprehensive Plan Land Use Goal 10.3 says that the City must, “honor the intent of adopted county plans and ordinances for areas proposed to be annexed.” As you can see above, the intent of the Mixed-use zoning is to provide pedestrian-oriented development that makes it easier for people to get to and use the site without a car.
  5. The area is surrounded by 12 apartment communities within a quarter mile, including 360 apartments that are part of the proposed annexation. This high-density housing concentration makes this area a prime candidate for pedestrian-oriented development.
  6. There is a Comp Plan-designated District Center at 57th and Regal Street, and multiple city maps and plans indicate that this property is destined to be part of that Center. The City’s Official Land Use Map shows these properties as part of the future District Center.
  7. The City’s Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in November of 2015 has a map titled Centers and Corridors and Downtown Zoningwhich includes all County Neighborhood Center and Mixed Use zones. This indicates that as late as November last year the City Planning Department considered Mixed Use zones in the County to be comparable to the City’s Center and Corridor Zoning. That area just south of the proposed annexation is part of the UGA and will someday be part of the City and Southgate Neighborhood. It makes sense to plan in a coordinated manner and not create an island of General Commercial zoning between two District Centers on Regal Street.
  8. Neighbors are concerned about the increased traffic that such high-density, auto-oriented development will bring to Regal Street. A way to mitigate that increased traffic is to design projects that encourage people to use the site without their car. Every person that can walk or bike to the site is one less car on the road contributing to congestion. It’s not about limiting cars, but providing easier alternatives to them.

Center and Corridor zoning provides elevated standards for design and function that encourage pedestrian and non-motorized use of the area and forwards our goal of creating a safe, vibrant neighborhood streetscape. Without this zoning, the development can move ahead in an auto-oriented manner that will increase traffic along Regal Street while discouraging non-motorized use of the area by residents of the 12 apartment communities within a quarter mile of the site.

Please send in your comments to the City Council, they told us at the last hearing that the amount of input from the community is what made them reconsider the zoning and extend the hearing for a month. If any of you can also come in person to lend your support for the Center and Corridor zoning of this area it will have a major impact on the Council’s actions. The Council meeting is at 6pm, Monday night at Spokane City Hall.

Thank you for making your voice heard to build a better neighborhood. If you have any questions please let us know.

One thought on “Action Needed: Comment on Southgate Annexation”

  1. I am getting into this far too late but would appreciate someone clarifying what I have found; if possible. In this circumstance, the public is made aware and provided information about changes to zoning in their community, allowing for comment either for or against. When reviewing the proposed annexation, a map was provided to clarify the proposed changes. Take a look at the map that was provided. https://static.spokanecity.org/documents/projects/spokane-housing-ventures-request-for-annexation/spokane-city-proposed-zoning-designations-map-2015-12-15.pdf. This map suggests that a very small portion of the land would be allocated for multi family use and all land to the west would be for community business. A quick drive-by clarifies that half or more of the west portion of this land, zoned for “community business” in this annexation, is already covered in apartment complexes Why would the city be annexing land for use as “community business” at a time when 50% or more of that land already has 2 large apartment complexes sitting on it. It simply doesn’t add up. Why has this map been used in this way? Why doesn’t it properly identify the ratio of multi family and community business use? Is there fine print in the community business zoning that allows for state funded, low income apartment complexes? How was the developer allowed to build 2 apartment complexes on land that hadn’t been zoned for such use ahead of time? Again, I am just now becoming aware and am looking for answers. These complexes, all built inside of Mullan Road Elementary boundaries, will deliver a crippling blow (over 100+ children) to one of the already largest schools in our community. Why didn’t the city negotiate an impact fee with the developer based upon the obvious impact these apartments will have on a school that is currently at capacity? Although a big issue is that we do not have opportunity for any further state funding to expand the school for another 4 years, a much larger issue is increasing an elementary school beyond 700 students, which is not in the best interest of anyone.

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